Around 60 percent of the US$ 3.27 billion worth Sri Lankan exports to the EU made in 2013 were apparel, according to Sri Lanka’s Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen.
Addressing the second EU-Sri Lanka Trade Dialogue at a hotel in Colombo, Mr. Bathiudeen said, “In 2013, sixty percent of our exports to EU were apparel. The relationship built on apparel trade has become a strategic partnership with major buyers in the EU.”
“Today, Sri Lanka has become a value creator to its strategic partners. This significant development, in our exports to the EU is the growth in our apparel exports despite the loss of GSP plus facility in August, 2010,” he added.
The EU-Sri Lanka Trade Dialogue, aimed at promoting EU-Sri Lanka bilateral trade further, was organized by the European Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka (ECCSL), in association with the European Union (EU) and the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (SLEDB).
The two-day forum addressed areas such as market research for potential business in the EU, upgrading sectors with European technology and innovation, and access to finance for technology enhancement.
During the discussion at the forum, it was emphasized that Sri Lankan businesses should become aware that benefits of certain facilities and trade concessions would not be available as the country graduates to a middle income economy.
Another point that was highlighted at the discussion was the opportunities for Sri Lankan exporters, including textile and garment exporters, to utilize raw material from Asean member countries, for which the EU has issued comprehensive guidelines on how the materials are to be used for value addition.
In 2013, Sri Lanka’s earnings from textile and garment exports grew by 13 percent year-on-year to $4.508 billion.